America as Boot Camp 

“It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough.”

—Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 6th Secretary General of the United Nations, 1999

“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis….. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable.”

–From Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, 2005

The 1983 documentary film “Anybody’s Son Will Do” opened many an eye and consciousness to the art and practice used in military boot camps for turning youths barely beyond childhood into troops who will kill on command. Rapid-fire disorientation begins immediately, and in ensuring weeks unrelenting mental assault crushes individuality, hammers strict conformity into young psyches, and counters any religious and ethical standards that might hamper the business of organized mass slaughter. Following the sapping of the multiple personas received, relatively uniform souls at ease with the extermination of humans are built according to military standards and specifications.

Given that a squeamish army is worthless for war, the more hatred that can inflame soldiers — the greater the distance from any sense of common humanity with an “other” that can be generated — is all to the good from a military point of view. As Martin Smith wrote, “In order for the military to avoid feelings of solidarity between their soldiers and the ‘enemy’, it has developed a tried and true method of conditioning enlistees to kill efficiently and, also, and most importantly for success, to dehumanize an adversary.” So, yesteryears’s subhuman “gooks” have now morphed into today’s “sand niggers”. Such attitudes can endure to become integrated into larger society. Marine general James Mattis, now 67 and reportedly the most revered Marine of recent memory, publicly (to applause) declared with reference to Afghan men, “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway, so it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them … It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people”. The title of the report in Forbes, linked as shown, declares that such a man “could add a manly dose to American culture.”

Two points: Our Brave Warriors must be convinced that, whatever carnage they are ordered to commit (and they must carry out orders; it’s not a choice issue) that they are doing upstanding, patriotic work by protecting American Values At Home And Abroad. The second point: As it is in boot camp, so it is across the entire USofA.

As the American Empire, the world’s “only super power” (for the time being) has sprawled across the planet, ignoring international laws that earlier US Governments had been key in creating; replacing at will established governments; bombing and droning civilian populations; insulting and crushing ancient cultures; killing, maiming and displacing millions as they go, directly or by proxy; assassinating figures of choice; bribing governments and driving nations into debt so as to commandeer resources through privatization; threatening anyone or any nation in defiance of US Foreign Policy, American citizens must be made to believe, in their hearts and with no shadow of doubt, that America exists as a Shining City On A Hill for the rest of the world. Maintaining this absurd myth is the prime aim and function of Pentagon propagandists, corporate-owned media personalities and war-mongering politicians who collect ungodly amounts of cash from the defense industry.

For every US soldier killed in the Middle East, thousands of “insurgents” have been exterminated. When civilians — collateral damage — are included, the “kill ratio” would be immense. Whatever it is, every fatality “over there”, whether fighter or mother or child, leaves extended family, anguished and seething, with a concept of the United States being firmly established in the lineage for generations to come.

Just as every ex-soldier has a moral obligation to cleanse the soul of the kill instinct, and while growing into a reflective adulthood to search out the uncomfortable truths about why the government sends its youth on such missions, so do 300 million Americans have a responsibility to awaken from the ridiculous, insidious, carefully-crafted dream world of “American Exceptionalism” and the ludicrous claim that the World wants the USA as police and protector. The anguish we have created among our fellow humans with actions rather like a My lai Massacre gone viral, has created within much of the collective human breast a rage so deep, so intense, that it could take generations for Americans to live it down. The fact that Germans born long after the collapse of the Third Reich have been forced to live with the stench of Holocaust and military atrocity smeared onto their identities, is a lesson contemporary Americans would do well to understand and to take to heart.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
March 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Roberto J. González
The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections
Paul Street
Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times
Nick Pemberton
The Ghost of Hillary
Andrew Levine
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Paul de Rooij
Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Coming in Hot
Chuck Gerhart
Sessions Exploits a Flaw to Pursue Execution of Meth Addicts
Robert Fantina
Distractions, Thought Control and Palestine
Hiroyuki Hamada
The Eyes of “Others” for Us All
Robert Hunziker
Is the EPA Hazardous to Your Health?
Stephanie Savell
15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, What Are the Costs?
Aidan O'Brien
Europe is Pregnant 
John Eskow
How Can We Live With All of This Rage?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Was Khe Sanh a Win or a Loss?
Dan Corjescu
The Man Who Should Be Dead
Howard Lisnoff
The Bone Spur in Chief
Brian Cloughley
Hitler and the Poisoning of the British Public
Brett Wilkins
Trump Touts $12.5B Saudi Arms Sale as US Support for Yemen War Literally Fuels Atrocities
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraqi Landscapes: the Path of Martyrs
Brian Saady
The War On Drugs Is Far Deadlier Than Most People Realize
Stephen Cooper
Battling the Death Penalty With James Baldwin
CJ Hopkins
Then They Came for the Globalists
Philip Doe
In Colorado, See How They Run After the Fracking Dollars
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Armed Propaganda
Binoy Kampmark
John Brennan’s Trump Problem
Nate Terani
Donald Trump’s America: Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
Steve Early
From Jackson to Richmond: Radical Mayors Leave Their Mark
Jill Richardson
To Believe in Science, You Have to Know How It’s Done
Ralph Nader
Ten Million Americans Could Bring H.R. 676 into Reality Land—Relief for Anxiety, Dread and Fear
Sam Pizzigati
Billionaires Won’t Save the World, Just Look at Elon Musk
Sergio Avila
Don’t Make the Border a Wasteland
Daryan Rezazad
Denial of Climate Change is Not the Problem
Ron Jacobs
Flashing for the Refugees on the Unarmed Road of Flight
Missy Comley Beattie
The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities
George Wuerthner
Isle Royale: Manage for Wilderness Not Wolves
George Payne
Pompeo Should Call the Dogs Off of WikiLeaks
Russell Mokhiber
Study Finds Single Payer Viable in 2018 Elections
Franklin Lamb
Despite Claims, Israel-Hezbollah War is Unlikely
Montana Wilderness Association Dishonors Its Past
Elizabeth “Liz” Hawkins, RN
Nurses Are Calling #TimesUp on Domestic Abuse
Paul Buhle
A Caribbean Giant Passes: Wilson Harris, RIP
Mel Gurtov
A Blank Check for Repression? A Saudi Leader Visits Washington
Seth Sandronsky
Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game
Louis Proyect
The French Malaise, Now and Then
David Yearsley
Bach and the Erotics of Spring